Dark Skies Lighting Audit for Kendal and Oxenholme
Guest blog from Jack Ellerby, Friends of the Lake District
Concerns have been growing for a while about the increasing volumes and intensity of new artificial lighting causing light pollution. Poor lighting impacts on people’s ability to see the stars, is harmful to wildlife species and habitats and bright light glare affects our ability to get a good night’s sleep, immune systems and overall health.
Working together with the Cumbria Dark Skies Project; Kendal Town Council, Kendal Civic Society and Friends of the Lake District have funded lighting professionals Cundall (Light4) to assess and audit the light pollution across Kendal and Oxenholme. Kendal Town Council supports climate change and biodiversity enhancement initiatives by demonstrating leadership in ‘thinking globally and acting locally to make a difference’. Light pollution relates to climate and biodiversity loss challenges and wider concerns.
Wasted light – shining up into the sky not down where it’s needed, or remaining lit throughout the night when people are not active – uses unnecessary electricity and hampers species ability to migrate, feed and carry out pollination functions.
The first task for the light audit team is to gather baseline information on lighting, take light meter readings to assess the sky quality in and around the town and identify where the main sources of light pollution are located. The next step will be to assess some of the individual lights with permission of the owners (where not publicly accessible) and recommend better lighting to overcome lighting pollution issues. This approach creates an opportunity for lighting owners to access free advice to save energy bills and reduce their contribution to light pollution.
With further help from project partners and supporters, Dark Skies Cumbria hopes to secure grant funding to offer small grants to businesses to improve poor lighting choices.
Kendal Town Council will be looking at its own lighting and making positive changes to Dark Sky-wildlife friendly lighting. Jack is currently working with a group of Kendal residents to install the first Dark Sky compliant Heritage style lights in front of their terrace – we look forward to seeing those results.
If you would like more information on the Lighting Audit and Action Plans and how to get involved, or on wider light pollution issues, please do contact the Project Officer Jack Ellerby Jack-Ellerby@fld.org.uk and visit the website via this link.